Series / Best Motoring

Best Motoring (officially titled as Best MOTORing, ベストモータリング (Besuto Mōtaringu)) was an automotive video magazine from Japan (published by Kodansha, the nation's largest publishing company) that released monthly issues from December 1987 until June 2011. Best known as the home of Gan san and the Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya, Best Motoring can be described as Gran Turismo in real life. Anime fans may recognize the original narrator (1987-2005) as Akira Kamiya.

Some of the features of the series included:

  • Circuit battles featuring the latest cars in the Japanese domestic market. The sports car battles during the heydays of the late 90s, featuring cars such as the Honda NSX Type S Zero, Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R, Mazda RX-7 Series 8, Lancer Evolution VI, Toyota Supra, and Subaru Impreza WRX STi are the most famous. Battles usually take place at Tsukuba Circuit in Ibaraki Prefecture, which is the closest racetrack to the Kanto area. Sometimes, battles are held at Suzuka Circuit or Fuji Speedway, or in later years at Sugo or Twin Ring Motegi. Minor battles with less powerful vehicles took place at Ebisu Circuit (which was heavily damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake). Also, endurance battles of multiple laps (usually circuit battles are three or five laps) have taken place at the height of summer.
  • Time attacks: How fast can a car lap a track?
  • Winding tests, on the mountain roads of Japan.
  • Gymkhana tests to analyze a car's stability and balance.
  • 0~400m tests (aka 1/4 mile), sometimes extended to 1000m and max speed tests. Braking distances are also tested from time to time.
  • My car challenge: A segment where viewers or fanatics challenged a host in a time attack, the driver with fastest lap wins the match.

Drivers include:

  • Akihiko Nakaya, whose education in mechanical engineering gives him a technical view of cars and racing.
  • Keiichi Tsuchiya, the Drift King himself.
  • Motoharu Kurosawa, or "Gan San".
  • Takuya Kurosawa, Son of "Gan San".
  • Naoki Hattori, who has raced in JGTC, F3000, and F3.
  • Takayuki Kinoshita, an automotive critic and former JGTC racer. Nowadays Kinoshita drives an LFA for Gazoo in the 24 Hours Nurburgring and is on the selection committee for the Japan Car of the Year award.
  • Juichi Wakisaka, 2002, 2006 and 2009 champion in Japan's Super GT series in the GT 500 category. After many seasons with Petronas, he switched to Bandoh for the 2014 season, which has a history of racers from the Wakisaka family. Famous for organizing the "Save Japan" initiative, a relief fund from Japanese motorsport for 3.11 victims that has also aided victims of the Kumamoto earthquake.
  • Akira Iida, 2002 super GT series champion (along with Juichi Wakisaka) in the GT 500 Category.
  • Seiji Ara, 24-hour Le Mans winner in 2004, he had competed in Formula Nippon, Japanese Formula 3 & the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
  • Daisuke Ito, 2007 Super GT series champion in the GT 500 category.
  • Yuji Ide, one of the few modern Japanese drivers to make an appearance in Formula One. (He wasn't very successful.)
  • Satoshi Motoyama, 1999 Le Mans Fuji 1000 km winner. 1998, 2001, 2003 & 2005 Formula Nippon champion. 2003, 2004 & 2008 Super GT champion in the GT 500 Category.
  • Tatsuya Kataoka, 2011 and 2014 Super GT champion in the GT 300 category. After five seasons in GT 500 with Toyota based works teams (two with a Supra, one with an SC 430), and two GT 300 (IS 350) and one GT 500 (SC 430) seasons with Bandoh-based teams, Kataoka jumped ship to Good Smile Racing'snote  immensely popular GT 300 team in 2012, and their famous Hatsuke Miku BMW Z4note . His official blog, entitled "EXCESS POWER", can be found here.
  • Takashi Ohi. Now runs a performance driving school called "D-Rights".
  • Manabu "MAX" Orido. Famous drift driver.
  • Nobuteru "NOB" Taniguchi. Another famous drift racer, and the other half of Good Smile Racing's popular GT 300 team, alongside Tatsuya Kataoka.
  • Kazuo Shimizu, a long time automotive journalist and critic, with a subscription website called Start Your Engines. Has a Twitter account as well.
  • Shinichi Katsura. Nicknamed "Kobo-chan" after the eponymous character from the manga Kobo, the Li'l Rascal.

Several other video series were released under the Best Motoring umbrella:

  • Hot Version, focusing on tuner cars.
  • VTEC Club, focusing on Honda cars.
  • AE86 Club, focusing on the Toyota Sprinter AE86.
  • Video Special/DVD Special, which goes into more depth than the regular series.
  • Platinum Series, like the Video/DVD Special, turned Up to Eleven.

Best Motoring and its ancillary releases would later be dubbed as "Best Motoring International". The narrator is none other than Bill Bickard, who dubbed the original Iron Chef for Food Network. He was replaced for later releases.

Its Spiritual Successor is Best Motor TV, which has semi annual releases on BS-4, a Japanese satellite channel.

Best Motoring provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Car Porn: One of the greatest examples ever seen on video. The Porsche 959, McLaren F1, Ferrari F40 and F50, Nissan R390 GT1, Porsche Carrera GT, Ford GT, and RUF CTR "Yellowbird" have all made appearances, and some of the racing versions of these road cars have also been driven. In addition, JGTC, Group A, and Super Taikyu race trims of JDM cars have made appearances in Champions Battles, as has the various GT-R models tuned by Mine's and Bee Racing.
  • Large Ham Announcer: Akira Kamiya, whose passionate, overexcited narration during races makes for hilarious moments. The other announcer (who replaced him in 2005) toned it down a little, but was still hammy.
  • Digital Piracy is Evil: Rampant piracy of video releases, combined with the economic downturn from the Great East Japan Earthquake, forced Best Motoring and Hot Version to end production in 2011. But then Hot Version came back.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Commonly used for background music.
  • Home Field Advantage: In both Best Motoring and Best Motor TV, Japanese vehicles routinely beat much more powerful European cars such as Ferraris and Porsches. There has been criticism of "glorifying" the Honda NSX and the Nissan Skyline GT-R. In later issues of Best Motoring, and Best Motor TV, the Nissan GT-R also gets this treatment. A partial explanation may be the Confucian-based trait of "saving face"—it would be humiliating for Japanese cars to be defeated on their turf. Expect to see more "shifto miss"es than you would expect from racing drivers.
  • Gratuitous English: Akira Kamiya would sometimes drop English words or phrases into his narration, including "exciting battle," "unbelievable," and "monster machine." The new narrator would announce circuit battles in English. ("SKOOBA SAKIT. SREE RAP BADDOW!")
  • Perpetual Frowner: While the other drivers are known for smiling and laughing, both Gan San and Nakaya are very stoic.
  • The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: The Super Battles and Champions Battles. Who would win, a Ferrari F50 or a Porsche 911 GT2? A Mine's GT-R or a Group A Lancer Evolution?
  • [1]: Video Option to Hot Version which also focuses on tuning cars. Interestingly, Keiichi Tsuchiya also appeared for several times in Video Option
  • Translation Train Wreck: The Hong Kong VHS releases from 1999-2000 had badly butchered English subtitles.
  • Rare Vehicles: Several very rare European exotics and Japanese cars have been tested .
    • McLaren F1 (64 road cars made) note 
    • Porsche 959 (300 produced) note 
    • Ferrari F50 (349 produced) note 
    • Ferrari F40 (1100 produced for the European market) note 
    • Ruf CTR (29 original examples) note 
    • Jaguar XJR-15 (50 produced) note 
    • Venturi 400GT (15 produced) note 
    • Ferrari F355 Challenge (104 produced) note 
    • NISMO 400R (44 produced)